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November 21, 2018

I'm not against Ingwe, I just don’t see the value of Nile Basin

AFC Leopards players after a League Match. Photo/David Ndolo
AFC Leopards players after a League Match. Photo/David Ndolo

This week, I made AFC Leopards fans mad on twitter. So mad that several grown up men and women discussed me for hours on facebook. They didn’t discuss the issue; they discussed me.

What were they so mad about? I’ll tell you. I tweeted on Wednesday morning how “AFC Leopards were about to ‘win’ a strange tournament” in the Cecafa Nile Basin tournament.

AFC didn’t eventually win it; but they did enjoy a pretty pay day by reaching the final. My issue isn’t with Ingwe; it is with the tournament because I honestly don’t see its value.

Apart from El Merreikh who won the Sudan league last year and who participated because they were hosts, most of the other participants; like AFC Leopards, had won their domestic Cup competition last year.

The Cecafa Nile Basin tournament is in its inaugural year and while I am not against the idea of having a tournament that features regional sides; I feel our big clubs have more than enough competitions to keep them busy throughout the year.

We have the league which runs from February to November; we have the KPL Top 8 tournament which features clubs that finished in the top 8 of the league the previous season and runs from March to June.

We also have the FKF Cup which is currently running under the GOtv Shield banner throughout the year and features clubs from all leagues. Three is a total of three domestic competitions to keep the teams very busy.

Now the winner of the league qualifies for the CAF Champions League while the winner of the FKF Cup goes on to play in the CAF Confederations Cup. Besides, the winner of the league participate in the Cecafa Club competition that is held around June.

The event is an old competition and is more appreciated as one of the longest running regional competitions in Africa; although a Kenyan Club hasn’t won it since Tusker did under Jacob Ghost Mulee in 2008.

Best practices worldwide has clubs playing in three domestic competitions; and one continental contest. We already have an additional competition in the Cecafa Club showpiece but we have managed to work it well into our calendar. My question is what happens when Kenyan clubs; or rather regional teams do better in the continental competitions.

Right now Gor Mahia should still be featuring in the CAF Champions League; while AFC Leopards and other regional sides who won Cup competitions, should be in the CAF Confederations Cup.

But it’s as if we have decided that our Cup winners will never progress in continental competitions so we have created an annual Cecafa Nile Basin tournament for them.

Do we lack that much ambition that we don’t see our own clubs going far in continental competitions? If they do; will they take a break each year for the Nile Basin tournament; or flood their calendars even more?

Ever since the introduction of the KPL Top 8 tournament, clubs have been complaining about packed fixtures; and yet we’re filling up the calendar with more. AFC Leopards Top 8 semi final match against KCB had to be postponed so that the club could go to Sudan.

It was also really odd that AFCON qualifiers were being played at the same time as this tournament. The June break is traditionally three weeks long; but this year it will be two weeks because the league calendar is behind.

Infact the 2010 the league took a full month break for the World Cup but this time the league will be on while the World Cup is on as well. That’s what happens when we insert adhoc competitions into our calendar.

I can almost guarantee you that towards the end of the season; teams will be playing every three days to make up for lost time. Fatigue and injuries will set in and coaches and players will begin complaining. To Ingwe supporters; I have nothing against your club; I simply do not see the value of the Nile Basin Tournament.

—Talk to me on @CarolRadull on twitter and www.facebook.com/CarolRadull

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